Edgar Allan Guzman won as best actor in the recently concluded 7th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival for the Erick Salud film Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me.
This triumph was an affirmation for the newbie who was first seen in Astig, also a Cinemalaya entry two years ago.
Edgar nearly did not make it as the lead actor in this Jerry Gracio adaptation of the Eros Atalia novel which drew huge crowds during the Cinemalaya filmfest. He was at first turned down, together with his leading lady Mercedes Cabral, as lead performers in the film produced by Noel Ferrer.
But his producer and his director fought for Edgar and Mercedes. And Edgar winning the best actor trophy only proved he was the right choice after all.
The jurors picked Edgar because of his "fresh, youthful, intelligently nuanced, and natural portrayal." It was victory that surprised Edgar, like his winning as Mr. Pogi in the noontime show Eat Bulaga! five years ago.
"I didn’t know what to say [when I accepted the award]," Edgar told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a post-awards interview.
"I didn’t expect to win but I believe it is the will of God na nanalo ako. Ang sarap ng feeling. It really felt good.
"I felt my heart beating with excitement when I heard my name was called as the winner."
WISH GRANTED. Since he started doing indie films two years ago, Edgar set his sights on earning recognition for his acting.
Of course, he was wishing to win an acting award. Any actor worth his salt would love to be lauded for a good performance.
"When I grow old, I want to able to look back and say that once upon a time, I was recognized for my acting talent.
"For a good performance. Ang sarap talaga ng pakiramdam na manalo ng award.
"Parang kapareho ito nung manalo ako sa Mr. Pogi. Kasi, dala-dala mo iyan [award] sa pangalan mo.
"Parang title din naman ang best actor award, kasi it’s a reward for a job well done. I am very happy that the jurors found merit in my acting," he said.
One person who is truly happy for Edgar winning the Cinemalaya best actor award is his director Erick Salud.
The young director said, "Sobrang happy ako for Edgar kaya parang gusto kong umakyat ng stage at yakapin siya.
"Binantayan ko ang acting niya. Bawat nuance, bawat bitaw ng dialogue, inalalayan ko siya at nakuha naman niya. Mabilis niya nakuha.
"Hindi ako nahiyang sabihin sa kanya na ang pakiramdam ko, siya ang mananalo. I told him na siya ang bet ko dahil napanood ko lahat ng mga entries sa New Breed category.
"And I know Edgar has a very strong chance of winning kaya I was already claiming that he’s going to win the best actor award."
PRESSURE. But Edgar is aware that with this recent accolade, all the more would public attention be thrown his way. The pressure is there to prove his worth as an actor.
"I know the people would be expecting much from me," he said.
"Noong picture-taking ng lahat ng winners, it crossed my mind na sana next year may entry ako uli sa Cinemalaya.
"And that I should be better in my next film. Kasi, if I won’t be better, they might think they did the wrong thing in making me win.
"I know there’s so much pressure, that’s why I said in my speech that I want to do more indie films so that I could hone my craft as an actor.
"I love doing indie films because it gives me the room to explore my acting.
"Pero hindi na siguro ako gagawa ng something sexier than what I did here in Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me. Tama na yung pagiging daring ko," he said.
LIKE COCO. For now, Edgar is wishing to be given a break in a mainstream filmmaking. He also wants to do a film that would be a part of the Metro Manila Film Festival.
"I want to do a dramatic role like someone afflicted with a disease.
"I also want to work with my idols namely Coco Martin, John Lloyd Cruz, and Christopher de Leon.
"Gusto ko silang makaeksena sa TV, o kaya sa movie," added the Cinemalaya best actor for 2011.
Edgar Allan is happy to have been able to fulfill his dream of having a teleserye. Edgar is in the cast of TV5’s The Sisters.
Even if he’s just playing a supporting role, he’s enjoying the experience.
"I am also thankful to TV5 for giving me the break. Aside from The Sisters, I am also a mainstay of the gag show Lokomoko U and the musical variety show Hey, It’s Saberdey!.
"I am happy that TV5 is giving me the break. Na nagsugal sila sa akin. I want to be with TV5 and grow with them as the Kapatid network makes its way in the industry," he added.
Another big thing coming Edgar’s way is his being signed up as a contract star of Regal Entertainment soon.
Regal Entertainment matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde saw Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me and was impressed by Edgar’s performance and by the film itself.
Incidentally, Regal Entertainment is handling the theatrical release of Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me set on August 17.